Critic Reviews



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It runs too long and drags a bunch in its final third, but make no mistake: This is Spielberg’s biggest crowdpleaser in years, a CGI ride that wields the technology with an eye for payoff.
The sheer dynamism and energy of the movie are compelling, even when the character drama isn’t.
A rollicking adventure through worlds both bleak and fantastic, Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One makes big changes to the specifics and structure of Ernest Cline's best-selling novel but keeps the spirit and level-up thrills intact.
Everything in Ready Player One ties together into an action-packed, upbeat, hero’s journey that keeps the film moving along at a thrilling pace. While it’s not particularly emotional and I was disappointed by how many questions are left open by its shallow visits to the real world, it’s still a lot of fun.
Dazzling in form and a chase film at its heart, Ready Player One is exhilarating, but it also can’t sit still. Fitting to the content perhaps, the movie still arguably suffers from troublesome A.D.D. with its hyper fast cutting and its tendency to wander narratively.
It’s an accomplished and intermittently hypnotic movie. Yet you may feel like you’re occupied more than you are invested.
Because Spielberg seems as eager as Wade to get back to the digital fantasy world he’s created, a lot of the human element is elided or glossed over.
The joy of Ready Player One does indeed come from its world-building and kaleidoscopic mashup of pop culture—what Spielberg would likely dub its “movie” elements.... At a certain point, though, Ready Player One wants to be appreciated as a film as well as a movie, no matter what Spielberg says. And that’s where it begins to falter.
Those who come away cheering for Ready Player One will likely have enjoyed the film’s many references, the story’s breakneck speed and playful visual design. Others may want to unplug from the paint-by-number characters and shallow plot.
With Steven Spielberg behind the camera, Ernest Cline’s book had potential to transcend its source material. It’s disheartening that the finished product is little more than the cinematic equivalent of a pop culture mashup tee, which takes cherished icons of film and coats them in garish CGI while clumsily smashing them against one another like a child playing with action figures.

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